Intra Larue installs a work with the aid of a city rubbish bin at Rue Dénoyez in the Belleville quarter.
Text by Meredith Shanoski
French street artist Intra Larue started casting plaster sculptures from her breasts as a joke. She works a day-job and hasn’t told her father about the endeavour yet, which is surprising because with 450 painted breasts and counting, her sculptures are slowly giving flecks of colour to a grey Paris.
She sits down with us and pulls her breast sculptures from socks before casually placing them on the coffee table between us. It’s hard not to laugh, and she attests that much of her audience’s reaction is similar. Our society has rendered the female breast in such a light that outside of a sexual context it is… well, a bit uncomfortable, bizarre, taboo. And yet, as a part of the female anatomy, it’s as normal as the next thing. Well aware of the taboos, Intra Larue takes to the streets with her delicate yet provocative, forward-thinking works.
Rue Dénoyez in the 20th arrondissement.
Intra Larue’s process is a meditation on fragility, freedom, and colour. She draws on inspiration from her quotidian—old typography books, Art nouveau, and fingernails —but revels most in finding the right corners for her work, for which she has curated an eye. Boulevards are out, as are most low spaces, so she climbs— rubbish bins, poles, pipes, ladders—anything to allow the sculptures to be seen and not touched. Placement is paramount, and for that she is attentive to avoid school grounds and religious buildings.
The artist uses a lighter glue in anticipation when she suspects pieces may need to be removed
One of Intra’s breasts stuck insitu at the top of Parc de Belleville.
Oberkampf in Paris’ 11th arrondissement: however small, the sculptures bring unexpected colour to drab city corners.
Intra Larue cast the first sets of breasts with the strongest, most durable plaster, but after the majority of her initial installations were stolen or dismantled, she shifted to using a more delicate plaster. As they are nearly impossible to steal without destroying, the fragility of her breasts protects their integrity. Further, the artist justifies her disinterest in commissions or gallery exhibitions, explaining that outside influence would extract its candour. “Wouldn’t she want to capitalise on her opportunities?” we ask, but as of late no money nor attempt to steal will obtain one of Intra Larue’s elusive breasts, which is her small victory.
Work at Place Maurice Chevalier in the 20th arrondissement.
To see her repertoire, check out Larue’s Flickr.
Contribute your own images of Intra’s breasts at her Facebook page.